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Interview with TAISTech CTO - Discover the How and the Why of Cloud Migrations

Carrie Leader, Principal Product Manager, Oracle

Cloud-based platforms are gaining in popularity as companies seek opportunities to become innovators, driving operational efficiencies and delivering on the promise of superior customer experiences. I asked TAISTech’s CTO Aman Bedi how companies should approach cloud implementations and for best practices on migrating from an on-premise platform, like ATG, to Oracle Commerce Cloud.

Let’s start with why would your customers consider updating their on-premise commerce platforms to the cloud?

Sure. The primary high level reasons are quicker time to market, flexibility, TCO, and responsiveness to business needs. The time it takes to purchase, configure, and install servers has gone from months or weeks to literally minutes or even seconds. With regard to SaaS, most of the heavy lifting on required functionality gets done by the platform itself, which means quicker time to market. Upgrades are simpler compared to on-premise because they’re automatically provided on a quarterly basis. And finally, Oracle Commerce Cloud provides flexibility in terms of architecture from API first to headless, which decouples the back-end services from the front-end UI, which provides the flexibility to use best-in-class frameworks based on the client’s preference.     

Does the cloud offer similar capabilities to those that ATG customers have come to expect from commerce platforms?

Yes. In most cases, their capabilities in the cloud are even more robust, especially around B2B functionality. Features, like AB testing, recommendations, and AI, are already pre-integrated and part of OCC’s single subscription cost. Additionally, Commerce Cloud offers full REST API coverage out of the box and integrates with other CX suite products already in place; whereas, these integrations require a custom build in ATG. Beyond these extras that are included with all OCC subscriptions, there is additional choice in implementation models. This is significant given that headless architecture has come to be expected in the commerce domain. 

How does cloud development differ from on-premise development?

On-premise development typically requires a lot of technical expertise around the ATG code base and requires ATG-specific Java experience. Oracle Commerce Cloud uses standards-based languages, such as HTML 5, CSS3, JavaScript, and NodeJS, which are abundantly available in the market and often at a much lower cost. ATG also requires a significant amount of back-end and front-end development. With OCC, much of the back-end development is streamlined, enabling developers to focus more on the front-end experience. OCC exposes much more of the back-end functionality through the admin configuration, which in ATG, has to be coded from scratch. A good example of this is ATG’s catalog structure, which can only be defined with the help of development in the XML repository. Alternatively, any OCC business user can update the catalog structure as long as they have access to the Admin console. Without the worry of custom code, merchants can instead focus on differentiating the experience through server-side extensions and on leveraging Oracle PaaS to test and deploy innovations faster. Finally, OCC comes pre-integrated with numerous 3rd-party applications (e.g., payment, tax, etc.) that can be easily configured from the admin console. With on-premise, the majority of these integrations need to be developed from scratch, adding time and cost. Taken together, the cloud has made great strides in easing the development process thanks to Oracle’s top-rated PaaS development cloud framework.

From a security perspective, what do customers gain from moving to the cloud?  

Regardless of whether or not a client has invested in security compliance, Oracle has invested heavily in setting industry standards for cloud infrastructure. These strict security measures are baked into all Cloud products and are implicitly available to all Cloud customers, so instead of managing PCI, GDPR, or whatever comes next, customers can rest assured that Oracle is handling it.

How can organizations determine their level of cloud readiness?

One of the most important activities a customer can engage in is a feature-to-feature mapping of OCC to their ATG installation. This provides a broad look at how much customization, if any, will be required. TAISTech offers a Cloud Readiness Assessment that reviews different aspects of a client’s technology ecosystem and how their IT team is organized. This Assessment includes a feature-to-feature mapping and an ATG to OCC data migration toolkit for product, pricing, inventory, and customer data. At the conclusion of our assessment, we provide customers with a score that indicates their readiness to adopt a cloud solution. Our experience is that customers are either ready, or we provide them with the services and information they need in order to be ready.

How should a company with an on-premise solution prepare for a migration to the cloud? And how does TAISTech help to mitigate any migration risks?

From the client side, they should have their business requirements well documented before taking on a cloud migration and should plan to have a Cloud Readiness Assessment conducted. Documented business requirements ensure that the Cloud Readiness Assessment accurately reflects what is required in order to move to the cloud and that the customer journey has been fully mapped out. 

Additionally, TAISTech has developed an ATG Migration Toolkit that can transfer products, categories (in OCC they are called collections), and customer data. Developed by TAISTech’s expert ATG and OCC developers, this toolkit removes the need to develop a custom migration solution.  It also reduces the effort required for migration and will abridge the timeline.

Configurations and customizations will still have to be refactored and added to OCC, but the extensibility of the OCC Web Services (API) layer is best-in-class and allows for fast integrations and customizations to the platform.

Most organizations can have a complementary mixture of on-premise and cloud. How do your customers blend the two models as they consider moving to a cloud-based commerce platform?

This will likely be the trend for several years to come as companies adapt and adopt more SaaS products. For example, we’ve seen ATG on-premise customers integrate with cloud-based personalization engines. We also have ATG on-premise customers who now use cloud infrastructure to support their business. Many clients temporarily find themselves with this blended model, which works well when integrations are planned and mapped out. We have also noticed that once they begin adopting cloud products, they continue migrating over to more SaaS-based applications, with the ultimate goal being to manage less technology, not more.

Cloud is still new for many companies. What does the timeline and process look like?

With the help of our accelerator, the timeline can be as short as three months. Starting with the discovery phase, TAISTech’s Cloud Readiness Tool Kit accelerates the process of determining business requirements. This is then followed by our ATG-OCC Migration Toolkit, which expedites data migration mapping from ATG to OCC. The majority of the implementation work then revolves around configuration and UI rather than back-end development, but the result post-implementation, is a website that requires fewer resources and a smaller team. A typical time frame is two to four weeks for Discovery, six to eight weeks for Development, and in parallel to Development, two weeks for Data Migration.

A lot of companies debate internally their readiness for cloud with various business groups often having differing opinions. What have been the most effective arguments for migrating, and has the value proposition been fulfilled?

The value proposition can differ by business user. For instance, the CIO may appreciate that SaaS solutions offer the ability to scale infrastructure in seconds; whereas, the benefit for the CFO may be in the TCO selling point, and for the CMO, a better user interface that doesn’t require developers. The value of a cloud-based platform for the business as a whole though comes from speed-to-market and the reduction in time and cost for upgrades.

With more than 17 years of experience, TAISTech, a Mastek company, envisions, creates and designs digital commerce transformations across the globe. Clients rely on our strategic, innovative, and technical expertise to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Wherever there is a touchpoint, we help make the connection. TAISTech delivers a broad portfolio of products, including Oracle Commerce Cloud, Oracle Commerce, Oracle CX, and Marketing Cloud, among others. For more information, visit https://www.taistech.com/ and to learn more about migrating from an on-premise ecommerce platform to Oracle Commerce Cloud, listen to the replay of TAISTech’s latest webinar on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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